[Vietnam Travel] Huế is a city chock-full of stories. The Kings of the Nguyễn Dynasty built their feudal capital along Huế’s fertile riverbanks and atop its forested hills, but their imperial legacy is just one of many reasons to visit. Huế’s refined cuisine is the stuff of legend, and its leafy streets are lined with mossy pagodas, art déco mansions, and eye-popping markets. Through the whole scene flows the Perfume River, setting a languid pace the rest of the city is happy to follow.
Top things to do in Huế
See Imperial Vietnam
Get acquainted with Vietnam’s last royal dynastic family by exploring what survives of their 143-year reign. Roam the palaces, pavilions and theatres of the Huế Citadel and make time to visit the tombs of emperors Tự Đức, Minh Mạng and Khải Định.
Eat like a king
You’re never far from a world-class meal in Huế. Nose around the flapping-fresh produce at Đông Ba Market for a teaser, then whet your appetite with Huế’s much-loved snacks, such as bánh khoai and bánh bèo.
Explore the city’s Buddhist roots
Huế’s serene atmosphere is most penetrating in its pagodas and monasteries. See the iconic seven-tiered tower of Thiên Mụ Pagoda, then pay a visit to Từ Hiếu Monastery, where Thích Nhất Hạnh spent his days as a novice monk.
Cycle in the rice paddies
Huế’s photogenic streets and lush countryside are a wonderland for casual cyclists. The ride to the tile-roofed Thanh toán Bridge is one of Huế’s most captivating, winding past vegetable farms, footbridges, and flocks of ducks.
Revisit colonial history
Travellers with an eye for architecture will enjoy seeing what remains of French influence in Huế. Stroll down Lê Lợi to encounter the art déco lines of La Residence Hotel, and the stately crimson buildings of Quốc Học High School.
Huế’s springtime months, from February to the end of April, show the historic capital in its best light. In June and July, prepare for scorching days as heat and humidity rise. The rains come in August and can last through January. Note that Huế often sees some flooding, usually from October to late in the year.
Domestic flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City touchdown in Huế’s Phu Bai Airport, a 30-minute drive from the city. Travellers also can hitch a train to Huế on the Reunification Express line, ride the open bus or hire a private car from the international airport in Đà Nẵng, two hours away. If you want to spend the day exploring the Citadel, riverside and central town just walk or consider hiring a cyclo for the day. For visiting the Imperial Tombs, taxis are available, or you can hop on a bicycle.